Gov. Cuomo: 0.65% positivity rate Wednesday was New York’s lowest since August

State News

NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo updated New Yorkers on the state’s ongoing coronavirus response efforts from Grand Central Terminal Thursday.

The governor announced the following update:

  • 162,450 COVID-19 tests reported statewide Wednesday
  • 0.65% statewide positivity rate (lowest since August 27, 2020)
  • 10 new COVID-19 deaths in New York
  • 1,223 hospitalized statewide with COVID-19 (lowest since November 1, 2020)
  • 300 in the ICU (+3 from Wednesday)
  • 177 intubated (unchanged from Wednesday)

The state’s vaccination progress, as of Thursday, is as follows:

  • 18,715,969 total vaccine doses administered statewide
  • 10,535,341 New Yorkers with at least one dose, 64.4% of state’s 18+ population
  • 8,935,406 New Yorkers fully vaccinated, 55.8% of state’s 18+ population

“COVID rates are going down, vaccination rates are going up; this is a period of New York rebirth,” Gov. Cuomo said.

The governor cited a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation on unvaccinated people that found 48% of respondents were worried about missing work if the side effects of the vaccine if they get sick.

“Department of Labor is going to put out guidance to all employers today in New York; if someone has side effects, and they take a day off, by law it will be considered a paid sick leave day,” Gov. Cuomo said. “So they must get paid for any day that they need to recuperate from the side effects of a vaccine. I don’t want to suggest that there are going to be side effects, but if that’s an issue for you, that issue is resolved. You won’t miss a day’s pay because of getting the vaccine. Also remember, we passed a law that says an employer must give you four hours of paid time off to get vaccinated.

Wednesday the governor announced a new vaccine incentive for New Yorkers aged 12 to 17-years old. Those in that age group who are vaccinated, or will be getting vaccinated through July, can enter a pool to win a full four-year scholarship to any SUNY or CUNY school.

To increase vaccination, the state has offered other incentives, including baseball ticketstwo-day passes to state parks, and a lottery entry for $5 million

A new incentive announced Thursday includes an admission pass for the Saratoga Race Course.

“The racing season is coming up,” Gov. Cuomo said. “July 15 is opening day at Saratoga and anyone who is fully vaccinated will get a free admission and that’s opening up.”

The governor said there has been an increase in hate crimes in New York in the wake of rising tension between Israel and Palestine in the Middle East.

“We have no tolerance for anti-Semitism, period,” Gov. Cuomo said. “No New Yorker has any tolerance for discrimination against any other New Yorker — that’s what makes New York special. We’re going to provide additional state troopers to Jewish communities and Jewish religious and education facilities throughout the state. We have one of the strongest hate crime laws in the country, and I give you my word personally that those laws will be fully enforced.”

Delivering his briefing from Grand Central Terminal, the governor announced that major construction on the East Side Access project in New York City is complete and will be operational next year. The governor said this will:

  • Double the capacity from the Long Island Rail Road into Manhattan
  • Cut commute times to and from Manhattan by 40 minutes
  • Reduce transit redundancy
  • Make reverse community a reality
  • New strain storage yard where 300 trains can be stores

The governor also said it will make Penn State less crowded and help revitalize the economy on the east side of Manhattan.

“Customers will arrive at a 350,000 square foot concourse,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The trains to do this leave to transfer in Queens through what’s called Harold Interlocking, the largest train intersection in the northeast. So the idea is the trains from Long Island would change tracks at the Interlocking and there’s a set of tracks that go from Queens through a new tunnel under the river and into Grand Central Terminal.”

The governor said these transportation projects will make commuting much easier for those in New York City.

“You can get to JKF from Grand Central in 40 minutes, which will be a totally different way to get to JFK,” Gov. Cuomo said.

This is a developing story. News 8 WROC will provide updates as they become available.

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